Wizards has been excerpting stuff from 4e every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for some weeks now. Today they put out a pretty massive preview called “May and Beyond,” which has excerpts from the PHB, MM, and the DMG.

I’m a little sad they didn’t go with the White Wolf format for previews, where they have a little tidbit every day for a number of weeks. I’ll take what I can get, though. This particular preview is pretty awesome, although there are two things that jumped out at me.


First, what’s up with Commander’s Strike? Sacrifice your action so someone else makes a basic attack? I’m not gonna say it’s useless. The warlord isn’t a striker, so it’s probable that there’s going to be someone else with a better attack that you just added ~4 damage to. Using it on the ranger, f’rex, isn’t a bad idea. Using it on someone who has a hit/damage buff up that ends at the beginning of their turn isn’t a bad idea, either. And I guess if you spend an Action Point you can attack and use Commander’s Strike in the same round.

I see this as kind of niche, though, meaning a more versatile ability is likely to be a better choice. Nearly all of the Warlord abilities we’ve seen so far let you help other people without sacrificing your action, in fact, and are by extension even better when used with an action point. I complain only because I’m not a fan of the “sacrifice your action so that someone else has more fun” dynamic. That’s basically what clerics in 3.5 have to do, and it’s kind of lame.

Second, the traps: I like ’em! But I noticed that two out of three of them (Soul Gem, Fire Trap) require a rogue to disable them. OK, OK, so as far as I can tell anyone can take Thievery, either just as a skill pick or by taking the “Sneak of Shadows” feat. And of course these are only three traps out of however many are in the DMG, on top of the fact that you’re (presumably) encouraged to make your own. I just had to complain, because after reading a run-down of Mike Mearls’ game (more on this later), it seemed like nearly all traps would be the sort that everyone could help out with.

That said, the traps have initiative and whatnot, which is neat. The rogue or someone else with Thievery can, of course, address the traps while the rest of the fight is going on, which is probably part of the point. A bunch of my own traps hazards aren’t so much intended to be disarm-able things as much as they are environmental effects that have an impact on the battle.

Of course, I’d let you disable if it makes sense. But how do you disable, say, a series of geysers? Obviously you need to do something a little off the beaten path, and why bother disabling them if you can perhaps use them to your advantage? (Of course, the lovely thing about some hazards is that some monsters might be unaffected by then, if they’re such as native to the environment.)

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